Sudden power cuts are due to over demand and the system shuts down

Photo: Less than a year old, the Fiaga Power station

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA: TUESDAY 08 APRIL 2014: Sunday night’s sudden power outage that lasted two hours is due to a 2.2 megawatts loss in electricity supply when demand goes above normal supply or ‘firm capacity’. This is according to the Opposition Shadow Minister for Works including EPC, Levaopolo Talatonu Vaai.

He says the problem of sudden power cuts is not a new problem and will not go away unless another generator is allocated for this purpose.

“The Electric Power Corporation (EPC) should  invest in another generator to cater for the lost 2.2 megawatts needed to make up the 19 megawatts in the installation capacity of the generators, when demands is above normal,” said the MP.

He explained Sunday night’s sudden power cut was due to an “overload in usage”.

The total amount of electricity or ‘firm capacity’ currently used to comfortably supply the country is 17 megawatts.

“But the big demand for electricity usage is around 19.2 megawatts which is over the 17 megawatts firm supply,” said Levaopolo.

“Once the demand is over 17 megawatts, it automatically cuts off the power supply.”

He said it was always around 1.00pm and 7.00pm that these sudden power cuts occur.

With the exception of Savai’i and Apolima, the whole of Upolu and Manono islands were affected by last Sunday nights sudden power cut.

Levaopolo praises the good automatic alarm system at EPC’s new generation plant at Fiaga.  “However, EPC needs to address and inform the Government of the problem.”

“Once there’s an overload in the ‘Firm Capacity’ or total amount of electricity used, the power is automatically cut off,” Levaopolo insists.

“This is to save the generators from blowing up and to protect families and homes,” he said.

“EPC must meet the demand from the users by using another generator,” said Levaopolo.

However, the EPC Chief Executive Officer Tologata Tile Lei’a Tuimalealiifano in a press release said Sunday night’s power cut was due to “an uncontrollable technical fault at the Fiaga power station”.

He did not explain what the uncontrollable technical fault at the Fiaga power station was and added that an investigation is underway to clarify the reason for this fault.

The Minister of EPC, Manu’alesagalala Enokati  Posala said the problem has been solved.

Asked to explain what “uncontrollable technical faults” means, he said there was a blockage in pipes carrying diesel to the generator.

“Samples have been sent to New Zealand to test if it was safe to continue using the diesel we are using at the time,” the Minister told Talamua.

He confirmed there are two reserve generators at the Fiaga Power station and that there was no need to buy another generator.

“What happened last night was a one off incident and it was the first time it happened since shifting to Fiaga from Tanugamanono,” the Minister explained.

Levaopolo insisted that the diesel electricity generation plant at Fiaga may be new, but the problem is not.

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